December 3, 2011; Source: The Tennessean | In a continuing trend of arresting journalists covering Occupy actions around the country, on Saturday police arrested another journalist, this one covering Occupy Nashville. This is the third journalist to be arrested and subsequently released with no charges filed by the city. The journalist was arrested for disorderly conduct after he (along with some protesters) refused police orders to leave the middle of the road and protest on the sidewalk, according to the Tennessean.
Meanwhile a group called Free Press gathered 40,000 names on a petition that has been handed to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, who is the president of the United States Conference of Mayors. The petition calls for mayors to protect journalists covering the Occupy movement, expressing concern that the First Amendment is being violated.
Another account of interference with journalists, this time during a protest in New York, comes from Care2Make a difference:
When Josh Harkinson, a New York-based staff writer for Mother Jones, showed up around 9:30 and identified himself to police as a journalist, he was told to leave the area, he said.
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Later, he was able to sneak past police and gain access to the protesters along with another journalist, Andrew Katz, who reports for The Brooklyn Ink, a local website produced by Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Harkinson said he again identified himself as a journalist and started interviewing protesters from a spot in front of the barricade. That’s when an officer grabbed him and physically escorted him away from the scene, he said.
“It wasn’t violent, but he pushed me out,” Harkinson said.
“The protesters were limited to a “free-speech zone” marked by police barricades near the Obama event; journalists were not allowed anywhere near it without police stepping in. MSNBC’s Meg Robertson said that, on identifying herself as a member of the press, the NYPD ‘would not let [her] close to the penned in area.’—Ruth McCambridge